The ear, nose and throat and speech and language therapy services at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) treat babies and children who have problems with their airway, feeding and swallowing. These problems are primarily caused by abnormalities in their upper airway and voice box. 

These patients need a swallowing assessment, so we have funded an upgraded piece of equipment for the teams - an Endolex spectar HD system. The equipment will allow staff to perform a highly specialist assessment of the baby’s swallowing and would help over 650 patients in the first year.

This new equipment has many advantages, including being smaller and more transportable.

Watch the video to find out more.

FEES service

The equipment will also enable the team to establish a fibreoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) service for babies and children - the first of its kind in the South West.

The FEES service has many advantages over current ways of working, including:

  • Much earlier identification or exclusion of issues to ensure a faster diagnosis
  • Earlier interventions to develop a patient’s feeding, reducing complications from prolonged feeding tubes and improving patient outcomes
  • A far less invasive and risky procedure, with no exposure to radiation. More babies and children can be assessed as the balance of risk/benefit would be improved
  • More accurate assessments
  • The equipment is portable and so assessment can be done at the cot side/bedside, on the intensive care unit, wards, or in a clinic appointment. It also requires fewer clinicians. This allows a swifter and easier diagnosis, so more patient assessments can take place and ensuring families get a quick diagnosis or reassurance
  • Better patient/parent experience.

Staff feedback

Helen Marks, clinical lead speech and language therapist at Bristol Children’s Hospital said: “We are so pleased that we have got this new equipment which will help us to provide a more in-depth assessment of feeding and swallowing difficulties with certain groups of patients.

“One of the benefits will be that we can get some of our little babies, who have had surgery, started on breast or bottle feeding much quicker than before. This will hopefully also help to reduce the length of time they have to stay in hospital – benefiting their families as well.”

With your support we can bring moments of joy, hope and comfort to those who need in most in our hospitals.

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